Three types of drug-related corruption evident in Caribbean -report

Stabroek News
February 4, 2001

The Caribbean drug control Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) has found three models of drug-related corruption in the Region.

The first was analogous to a licensing relationship where state authorities agree to "turn a blind eye" to drug-related activity for a price.

"Parties offering the most substantial bribes to officials would be 'licensed' to conduct their affairs free from sanction, for the time determined by the official authorities. Like most licensing systems, the granting party endeavours to increase the attractiveness of the licence, offering related 'perks' to licences, such as combatting independent traffickers who do not hold this licence."

The report said other assistance could include access to state assets, in the form of physical or human resources, to assist smuggling operations.

The second model of drug-related corruption involved "high-level administrative officials in security agencies and the judicial system who benefit from an organised system of bribes offered to affect outcomes between drug traffickers and civil servants."

The final model, the report said, and the least effective as a means of obtaining long-term protection for illegal business, involved "small-scale corruption confined to low-level officials who are directly involved in law enforcement, judicial affairs or other activities in the public or private sector that may pose an obstacle to drug trafficking.

"While the first model usually emerges under specific social and political conditions, such as societies with unclear distinctions between private and public sectors, the latter cases are usually related because they are different steps of the same ladder. With these latter schemes, corruption begins at the lowest levels of the administration and ascends as illicit benefits increase and drug traffickers require greater protection for their operations." Determining the type of corruption generated by drug trafficking, the CCM stated, was "an essential first step to fighting it, since tactics applied to combating small-scale corruption, for example, are effective and even harmful when applied to licence model-corruption."

Meanwhile, the CCM also pointed out that traffickers were "particularly keen to establish secure routes" because inter-territorial trans-shipment is the aspect of the drug business most vulnerable to interception by legal authorities.

"The Caribbean is specifically vulnerable to drug-related corruption since drug trafficking activities here focus primarily on transshipment--the stage of trafficking most vulnerable to interception by legal authorities."

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